A smart gun that is enabled by facial-recognition technology has gone on sale in the US despite protests from gun enthusiasts.

Biofire Tech, an arms company operating out of Colorado, is taking pre-orders for its $1,499 smart handgun and could be sending them out as soon as the end of the year. 

However, in a recent demonstration reported by Reuters, the facial recognition prototype gun failed to fire on two occasions with the correct user. 

Kai Kloepfer, company founder and chief executive of Biofire Tech, told the publication that the fault was due to pre-production and prototype parts. 

Kloepfer claimed that all software and electronics had been fully tested and were functional. 

Gun enthusiasts have had a long history of scepticism for smart guns, claiming that the risk of malfunction could be harmful in split-second self-defense situations. 

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By GlobalData

This was demonstrated in 2017, when an Armatix IP1 smart gun was unlocked by a German hacker using $15 magnets he bought from Amazon

Armatix went bankrupt shortly after, as the company was unable to rebuild trust with consumers and enthusiasts continued to voice concerns. 

Biofire Tech’s new product will be the first commercially available smart gun in the US since the Armatix in 2014. 

Kloepfer, whose company has managed to raise $45m in venture capital backing towards the smart gun, says his mission is an urgent one. 

Not only can Biofire’s gun be fired by facial recognition, it can also be activated through the use of a fingerprint.

Kloepfer, who has been working on the gun since he was 15-years-old, believes its design can reduce suicides, stop accidental shootings by minors, protect police officers and make all unowned guns practically useless.

Kloepfer said: “I’ve not just built a product, but an entire company around: How do we build an extremely reliable product that will always unlock for you anytime that you pick it up, and will never unlock when your kid finds it.”

GlobalData is the parent company of Verdict and its sister publications.